Spring Extra-Curricular Trips Canceled

Amanda Young and Gracie Woidat

Concerns about coronavirus have affected field trips, including AP Art History’s trip to Japan, the band classes’ field trip to Southern California, and Acalanes Gifted and Talented Education (AGATE) program’s trip to Point Reyes.

AP Art History students’ field trip, which was scheduled for spring break, will be postponed to next year. “Because of concerns about possibly being quarantined there or coming back, the group decided to reschedule the trip until spring of next year,” said AP Art History teacher Molly Kerr.

The group was scheduled to travel with ACIS Educational Tours. Sophomore Ali Montee, who is signed up for the trip, said, “The travel company actually advocated to do a different date and was really helpful in contacting us and keeping us up to date on the company’s status.” Each participant is responsible for paying a $100 change fee.

“If you paid the ultimate travel insurance, you can get a full refund, which 1 student opted to do. The other 5 students have not paid for that, so the tour company was either offering to reschedule or give a voucher to roll over or a partial refund, and 4 students have chosen to reschedule,” said Kerr. “Another student opted for the voucher with the idea that they may, in fact, go next spring, and they just want to see what’s going to happen.”

“I’m a little disappointed but I understand that it was the right choice. 1 of the girls on our trip is immunocompromised, so it would have been dangerous for us to go, and we’re a small enough group that it was a better idea for us to go next year,” said Montee.

For the band, which had planned to travel to Southern California, there were no options for postponing the trip. Scheduled for March 18-23, it would have allowed band members to do rehearsal exchanges with several Southern California schools, watch an LA Philharmonic concert, go to the Aquarium of the Pacific, and attend Disneyland. Students received notice of the cancelation on March 11. Disneyland announced that it would close beginning March 14, according to CNN.

According to band teacher Johnny Johnson, students may receive refunds for some things, but deposits on the hotels and the tickets to Disneyland might be difficult to get back.

“This just happened yesterday [March 11], so we’re going to have to make the calls and sort all that out. The good thing was that the buses were with a PL, a purchase letter, so I don’t know if they’re going to demand any payment because we scheduled them,” said Johnson. “The intention is to get as much money back as we can. We’ll be able to offer a substantial amount of refund because we didn’t spend all the money that we were going to spend along the way.”

Johnson believes that canceling the trip was “absolutely” the right decision amidst coronavirus concerns, but he acknowledged students’ disappointment. “We’ve been working on this all year – actually since the summer. We had a student tour advisory group, and we started the planning back in the summer, and we’ve been rehearsing for the past few months, the tour music. So, it’s just a real bummer,” he said.

Johnson added that he may try to plan a smaller-scale field trip later, but he “can’t imagine that that scenario would lock into place as easily as it did.”

“I’m just shell-shocked right now. I can’t even think,” said Johnson.

The AGATE program’s field trip to Point Reyes, which was scheduled for March 15-17, was canceled on March 13. According to an email to participants sent by AGATE advisers Stephanie Verbanszky, “The district told us this morning [March 13] that we will need to cancel the AGATE trip. I do not yet have information about whether or not we will be able to refund all, part, or none of the fee, but will let you know as soon as I know.”

The AGATE program consists of 6 seminar meetings, a field trip, and the creation of a comprehensive interdisciplinary project based on what is learned on the field trip; the entirety of the spring 2020 program was canceled.

Another major Campolindo community event, the annual Moraga-Valley Presbyterian Church (MVPC) spring break service trip to Mexico, has also been canceled.

According to MVPC’s website, the decision was made due to “the rapidly changing nature of the Coronavirus spread, and the possibility of quarantine” as well as “the communal nature of this trip” and “concerns for the families [they] would be serving.”

Junior Leila Stoll, who planned on attending the Mexico trip, said, “I found out on Tuesday [March 10] afternoon. I was pretty disappointed, and everyone else that I talked to who was going to go on the trip was disappointed also. This year was going to be my 1st time on the trip and I was really excited to do the project and meet new people, and just for the whole experience in general.”

Stoll added, “However, I also know that the decision to cancel the trip was the best option considering the COVID-19 outbreak. Going to Mexico may have put the families there in danger, which of course we do not want to go on a trip that is meant to help people. I also know that some of the teams, including my own, plan to keep in touch even though the trip isn’t happening, so we are all trying to make the best of the situation.”